Japan outlines military reinforcement for coming years

Tokyo, Jul 28 (EFE).- Japan announced Friday some of its first steps to strengthen military capabilities in its new defense white paper, which also highlights the growing risks around Taiwan and the consequences of the Ukraine War.

The document is the first such roadmap within the framework of its new multi-year defense strategy, adopted in late 2022 and which provides for an increase in military spending for NATO countries and an unprecedented expansion of military capabilities.

Japan’s defense spending target for the next five years rises to JPY43 trillion (about $301 billion), about 2 percent of GDP.

In 2023, the first year of the five-year period, the increase in the military budget will be allocated to the acquisition of combat drones, long-range missile systems or the supply of ammunition, among other specific measures, according to the document.

The acquisition of long-range missiles, including United States Tomahawk missiles, capable of hitting targets more than 1,000 kilometers away, is one of the most noticeable weapons developments in Japan’s new multi-year strategy.

With these new weapons, Japan said it hopes to gain deterrent power amid growing threats from North Korea and China, countries that have developed their missile technology in recent years.

Tokyo plans to install additional anti-missile shields at strategic points in its territory, in addition to deploying part of its new long-range arsenal in the southwestern tip of the Japanese archipelago and close to Taiwan, a move aimed at countering Chinese maneuvers in the area.

The paper speaks of the need to develop appropriate measures in the fields of artificial intelligence, quantum computing and other developments in information and communication technologies that may have a potential cybersecurity impact.

The expansion of Japan’s defensive capabilities comes in response to what Tokyo sees as “an increasingly dire security environment” stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s military rise and North Korea’s weapons advances.

The document talks about the rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing following the war in Ukraine and international pressure on Russia, and speaks of the need to “monitor a movement that could have repercussions for the international order.”

The document also reaffirms the “grave concern” generated in Tokyo by “China’s military movements” in Indo-Pacific waters, including around disputed territories, and points to Beijing as “the greatest strategic challenge” facing the international community.

As per the situation on Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory, Tokyo said the relationship between the two parties “is rapidly evolving towards a more favorable situation” for China, despite Taipei strengthening its defenses after the Ukraine War.

The paper spoke of competition between the US and China, and in particular its repercussions in the field of technology and economic security, adding that a potential change in the balance of power between the powers “will have an impact on the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific.” EFE


Malaysia, Indonesia team up against EU anti-deforestation regulation

By Gaspar Ruiz-Canela and Steven Handoko

Bangkok/Jakarta, July 28 (EFE) – Malaysia and Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil exporters, have launched a diplomatic campaign against the European Union’s (EU) anti-deforestation regulation, which they have deemed imperialistic and discriminatory against small producers.

These two Southeast Asian countries argue that they already have their own guarantee systems to prevent forest loss, but have agreed to form a special team with the EU to address the implementation of the new regulation.

The controversy revolves mainly around palm oil, a versatile and inexpensive product used in a wide range of goods, from processed foods (such as cookies, pastries, or ice cream) to cosmetics and biofuels.

Palm oil has long been linked to deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia, although the loss of forests has decreased in both countries.

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